My kids live a suburban life.
We pile into a minivan to go to an indoor hockey rink. We shop in huge box-shaped stores all lined up at the end of a massive parking lot. And we go for walks with our dog on a leash, along tree-lined streets with matching houses and primped lawns.
But despite our suburban surroundings, I try to keep a little “back to nature” alive in my kids.
As often as possible, we purchase our fruits and vegetables from the farm market down the street. We vacation in the wilderness, tucked in cabins perched next to lakes. And thankfully, with the green space behind our house, we can abandon the sidewalks and run through thickets and swat away bugs.
My favorite part of this summer, and I bet my kids would say the same, has been our almost daily wild blackberry picking.
Together, we push back prickly branches and maneuver past thorns to find these ripe, juicy blackberries.
We have spent hours these past few weeks in the blackberry bushes popping delicious berries straight from the branches into our mouths. And those we didn’t eat while we picked made it back to our kitchen were we spent the evening baking berry crisps together or packing our bounty in bags to freeze for winter.
Not only was it incredible family time out in the fresh air and then baking from scratch on warm August nights, but my children got to get their hands dirty gathering food – right from where it grows.
Our experiences this summer reminded me to continue to search out more opportunities for my children to be involved with food at the “ground level.”
I am planning on bringing my family with me to visit Cascadian Farm in October for their Harvest Festival, so my kids can learn more about organic farming and how we can make farms that respect the environment and produce healthier, safer food.
This fall we will also visit local farms to go apple picking, pull our pumpkins right from the fields where they ripened, and buy our squash and potatoes from the farm that produced them.
What about your family? How have you inspired your kids to discover “where food comes from?”
I would love to hear your ideas about how to keep our kids closer to our earth!
Photos by Janice Croze
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